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May 04, 2009

Hugging Hubble

My favorite quote from the STS-125 crew press conference on April 23 was John Grunsfeld saying, “Hubble needs a hug, and we’re ready to go.”

This crew is more than ready for launch, hopefully Monday, May 11. Commander Scott “Scooter” Altman joked that he hoped the April 23 press conference was the last one prior to the flight, and admitted, “The slip was hard to take at first.” The flight has been delayed and delayed again, most recently after a key computer failed just weeks from launch last October. But after a brief rest, the crew dove right back into training. “But it is good to be here now,” Altman said with a broad smile. “We are ready. We are trained.”

The number of spacewalks was already maxed out at five, so to add in the computer task on the first extravehicular activity (EVA), the team had to shoehorn a two-day task (the repair of the Advanced Camera for Surveys in EVA 3) into one. Grunsfeld alluded to there being a betting pool at Johnson Space Center on whether or not they will get it all done. But he said he is “highly confident that we’ll finish [the Advanced Camera repair] in one day.” I would put my money on this team!

Besides Commander Altman and lead spacewalker Grunsfeld, the crew includes veteran spacewalker Mike “Mass” Massimono, and four rookies: Pilot Greg “Ray J” Johnson; flight engineer and arm operator Megan McArthur; and spacewalkers Andrew “Drew” Feustel and Michael “Bueno” Good.

For launch, McArthur will sit behind Altman, and Good will sit behind Johnson. Grunsfeld, Massimino, and Feustel will ride up on the middeck, with Grunsfeld having the seat closest to the hatch.

To watch the launch and spacewalks, tune in via the NASA cable channel or NASA TV online. All spacewalks start around 7 a.m. Eastern time, last about 6 and a half hours, and end by 2 p.m.

STS-125 Summary Timeline

Monday 05/11: launch, 2:01 p.m. Eastern time
Tuesday: tile inspection
Wednesday: Hubble capture (just before noon)
Thursday: EVA-1 (Grunsfeld/Feustel): Wide Field Camera 3; Science Instrument computer; new grapple fixture
Friday: EVA-2 (Massimino/Good): gyros; batteries
Saturday: EVA-3 (Grunsfeld/Feustel): Cosmic Origins Spectrograph; Advanced Camera for Surveys repair (was 2 EVAs in original plan)
Sunday: EVA-4 (Massimino/Good): Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph repair; new insulation (begins around 7 a.m.)
Monday: EVA-5 (Grunsfeld/Feustel): more batteries; fine guidance sensor replacement (lowest priority, deleted if necessary); more insulation
Tuesday: Hubble release (around 7:30 a.m.)
Wednesday: crew news conference (around 9:15 a.m.)
Thursday: entry prep
Friday 5/22: landing, 11:41 a.m. Eastern time

For more details about launch and flight operations, I highly recommend Bill Harwood’s blog.

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson

Member NSS Board of Advisors
www.mdyson.com

Posted by m_dyson at May 4, 2009 03:17 PM

 

 

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